The Forty-Fourth Annual Brace Lecture

When: November 3, 2014 at 6:30pm - 6:30pm EST - This event has passed


Copyright Damages: A View From the Bench

to be given by

The Honorable Jed S. Rakoff
United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York

This is the forty-fourth in a series of annual lectures on domestic copyright given in memory of the publisher Donald C. Brace who founded Harcourt, Brace & Co. in 1919. This series was originally established by a gift from his daughter, Mrs. Donna Brace Ogilvie.


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Judge Jed S. Rakoff
has served since March, 1966 as a United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York.  After clerking for the Honorable Abraham L. Freedman on the Third Circuit and two years in private practice, Judge Rakoff was an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York (1973-80), the last two years as Chief of Business and Securities Fraud Prosecutions.  From 1980 until his 1996 appointment to the bench, he was a litigation partner, first at Mudge, Rose, Guthrie, Alexander, and Ferdon and then at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson.

Judge Rakoff also holds the position of Adjunct Professor at Columbia Law School, where since 1988, he has taught courses in white collar crime, science and the law, class actions, and the interplay of civil and criminal law.  He has co-authored five books, written over 125 published articles, and is co-editor, with Judge Leonard B. Sand et al. of Modern Federal Jury Instructions.

Judge Rakoff serves on the National Commission on Forensic Science and is co-chair of the National Academy of Science’s Committee on Eyewitness Identification.  In addition to his current service on the New York City Bar Association’s Executive Committee, he has also been the Chair of several committees.  He also serves on the Governing Board of the MacArthur Foundation’s Law & Neuroscience Project; was elected to American Law Institute in 2009 and serves as an Advisor on its project to revise the sentencing provisions of the Model Penal Code. 

Known as an authority on securities law, Judge Rakoff presided over major cases against financial institutions arising from the 2007 crisis in the financial industry.  In one case, dissatisfied with the SEC’s settlement proposal, Judge Rakoff rejected the offer and forced it to impose a higher penalty than originally offered.

In nearly 30 years on the bench, Judge Rakoff has handled many copyright cases, including White v. West Pub. Co., 2014 WL 3057885 (July 3, 2014) (copy of lawyer’s filed brief in database of court documents was fair use); Peterson v. Kolodin, 995 F.  Supp. 2d 254 (2014) (declaration of copyright ownership construing a contract under §204(a) and NY contract law); Lehman Brothers, Inc. v. Wu, 294 F. Supp. 2d 2004 (2003) (no right to contribution in a copyright case); TeeVee Toons, Inc. v., Inc. 134 F. Supp. 2d 546 (2001) (on motion for summary judgment, construes availability of statutory damages where music compositions and sound recordings are owned by separate parties); UMG Recordings, Inc. v. MP3.Com, Inc., 92 F. Supp. 2d 349 (2000)(making copies from user’s DVDs was not a fair use); and 109 F. Supp. 2d 223 (because albums were registered as compilations, statutory damages are computed per-CD, not on a per-song basis).

Education: Swarthmore College, B.A. (1964); Oxford U. M. Phil. (1966); Harvard Law School, J.D. (1969).

Donald C. Brace Lecturers 1970-2013

1. Meville B. Nimmer
2. John Schulman
3. Hon. Theodore R. Kupferman
4. Robert B. McKay
5. William Jovanovich
6. Hon. Barbara Ringer
7. Irwin Karp
8. Harry G. Henn
9. Sigmund Timberg
10. Harriet F. Pilpel
11. Leonard Zissu
12. Robert A. Gorman
13. Hon. David Ladd
14. Leo J. Raskind
15. Harrison E. Salisbury
16. Ralph S. Brown
17. Floyd Abrams
18. Nicholas A. Veliotes
19. Hon. Pierre N. Leval
20. Hon. Richard Owen
21. Paul Goldstein
22. David Lange

23. Thomas Mallon
24. Gerald Gunther
25. Hon. Roger J. Miner
26. Hon. John M. Walker, Jr.
27. Jane Ginsburg
28. Lloyd L. Weinreb
29. Hon. Alex Kozinski
30. Hugh C. Hansen
31. Hon. Lewis A. Kaplan
32. Hon. Richard A. Posner
33. Hon. Marybeth Peters
34. Jessica Litman
35. David Nimmer
36. Hon. Stanley F. Birch, Jr.
37. Richard Dannay
38. Hon. Marilyn Hall Patel
39. Mark A. Lemley
40. Hon. Denise Cote
41. Hon. Denny Chin
42. Peter S. Menell
43. Shira Perlmutter

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